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08.04.15

Links 4/8/2015: KDE.org Redesign, Point Linux 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Cloud’s Open Source Seeds Are Growing Strong

    New features, functionality, rewrites and releases of open source software are being driven by customers, and it’s important to understand how the benefits of open source software can change. There have been many cases of organizations originally seeking open source primarily for cost savings, but then later realizing other benefits, including performance and reliability.

  • Announcing the shutdown of the Ada Initiative

    It is with mixed feelings that we announce that the Ada Initiative will be shutting down in approximately mid-October. We are proud of what we accomplished with the support of many thousands of volunteers, sponsors, and donors, and we expect all of our programs to continue on in some form without the Ada Initiative. Thank you for your incredible work and support!

  • Lockheed Open Sources Its Secret Weapon In Cyber Threat Detection

    The cybersecurity team at Lockheed Martin will share some defensive firepower with the security community at Black Hat this week with the open source release of an internal advance threat tool it has been using in house for three years now. Dubbed Laika BOSS, this malware detection platform is meant to help security analysts better hunt down malicious files and activity in an enterprise environment.

  • The Ada Initiative For Supporting Women In Open Tech Is Ending
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open source Chromecast competitor, Matchstick, is dead

        Nearly a year ago, Matchstick hit Kickstarter with the goal of bringing a more open HDMI dongle to challenge the likes of the Chromecast and Fire TV Stick. Today, however, its creators made a painful revelation.

        They’re not going to be able to deliver a satisfactory product, and that means around 17,000 backers won’t be getting their hands on the Firefox OS-based Matchsticks they were hoping for when they pledged their support to the project last fall.

      • The Mozilla We’ve Got

        Nope, just non-Windows users being played so far [1]. I should have guessed with it being Adobe’s DRM that is being used that maybe Linux wouldn’t see the best support. It’s also depressing to me that Mozilla has given up on calling it what it is in some cases [2].

      • Pale Moon 25.6.0 (Firefox Based Browser) Brings New Features And Security Fixes

        As you may know, Pale Moon is an open-source, cross-platform browser based on Mozilla Firefox, being up to 25% faster then the original.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Ceilometer, Gnocchi & Aodh: Liberty progress

      It’s been a while since I talked about Ceilometer and its companions, so I thought I’d go ahead and write a bit about what’s going on this side of OpenStack. I’m not going to cover new features and fancy stuff today, but rather a shallow overview of the new project processes we initiated.

    • Mirantis and AppFormix partner to optimise enterprise cloud computing and improve infrastructure efficiency

      AppFormix, a leading provider of analytics and control services to cloud-based datacentres, has formed a partnership with Mirantis to become a Mirantis Unlocked partner. This will see AppFormix integrate with Mirantis OpenStack to bring analytics and control of resource utilisation to OpenStack based private cloud infrastructure.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5: The best office suite today won’t cost you a dime

      I’ve used LibreOffice as my main office suite since it forked from OpenOffice five years ago. Now its latest edition, LibreOffice 5.0, is better than ever. And, in my book, that means it’s the best standalone office suite available in 2015.

    • Working with Pivot Tables in LibreOffice Calc

      Pivot tables is a very powerful tools in spreadsheets that allow you to analyse big massive of data in flexible dimensions.

      LibreOffice Calc gives you an option to build your own Pivot tables using the built-in tools.

  • Education

    • Making the Case for Koha: Why Libraries Should Consider an Open Source ILS

      When Engard educates people on what open source is, what it means to use open source software, what types of software are available, which companies use it, and who trusts it, they see that their fears are unfounded, she says. To back up her discussions with facts, she maintains bibliographies on open source and open source security. She also has a set of bookmarks on Delicious, and she wrote a book, Practical Open Source Software for Libraries. “[W]hen people come to me and say open source is too risky … I have facts and figures, just what librarians want, to say no, all software has potential risk associated with it. You have to evaluate software side by side, and look at it, and really take the time to compare it. … I know you’re going to pick the open source solution over the proprietary because it is so quickly developed, so quickly fixed, so ahead of the curve as far as technology is concerned.”

  • BSD

    • Lumina Desktop 0.8.6 Released!

      Just in time for PC-BSD & FreeBSD 10.2 (coming soon), the Lumina desktop has been updated to version 0.8.6! This version contains a number of updates for non-English users (following up all the new translations which are now available), as well as a number of important bug-fixes, and support for an additional FreeDesktop specification. The PC-BSD “Edge” packages have already been updated to this version and the FreeBSD ports tree will be getting this update very soon as well.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Who Reads the Source Code Anyway?

      Today’s new feeds were just chock full ‘o interesting articles. The first up came from Ole Tange who set up a little experiment to see how long it took for someone to read his source code. Bryan Quigley commented on “The Mozilla We’ve Got” and OpenSource.com interviewed Linus Torvalds’ daughter, who is building a career in computer science and engineering. Elsewhere, Brook Kidane reviewed Point Linux 3.0 and Laurent Montel ran down KDEPIM 5.0.

    • The state of Federation

      It’s been a long time since there has been any news on the state of federation, so here’s an update on where Mediagoblin’s at and some technical aspects of federation. We’ve been working with the W3C Social Working Group to define the future of federation, and part of my work there has been to work on the ActivityPump standard. There’s more to say on that and why we’re investing time there, but this blogpost will mostly be about MediaGoblin and federation from a technical perspective.

    • Who actually reads the code?

      I am the maintainer of a piece of free software called GNU Parallel. Free software guarantees you access to the source code, but I have been wondering how many actually read the source code.

      To test this I put in a comment telling people to email me when they read this. The comment was put in a section of the code that no one would look to fix or improve the software — so, the source code equivalent to a dusty corner. To make sure the comment would not show up if some one just grepped through the source code I rot13′ed the source code.

  • Public Services/Government

    • New Extremadura Govt to support open source in schools

      The autonomous region of Extremadura (Spain) is committed to the use of open source in schools, the new Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) government says in a statement published on Monday. However, the administration will not cancel the EUR 38 million request for PC hardware and proprietary software licences, published by its predecessor.

    • Sielocal – Economic Transparency System in Spain

      “Our aim is to anticipate the information needs of the local public sector, information professionals and all citizens by providing a web space that makes it possible for them to view, compare and comment on town halls’ principal fiscal and accounting ratios, by allowing free access to multiple types of reports, segmenting the reports by autonomous regions or provinces. We intend to work with other exeprts and the principal National and Europan Transparency foundation.

    • Transparency in the EU: still a long way to go

      In terms of transparency, countries in the European Union (EU) still have a long way to go, a report entitled Future-proofing eGovernment for a Digital Single Market, and conducted by several IT service providers, revealed.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • The Personal Computer That Beat Apple (For a While)

    When the TRS-80 — a personal computer from Tandy that would be sold via their RadioShack stores, hence TRS — went on sale on Aug. 3 in 1977, computers weren’t exactly new. The Apple I had been introduced the previous year and personal computers were clearly a growing market, but Tandy is often credited with pioneering the idea of mass-market personal computer.

  • Twitter Jumps the Shark

  • Google+

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Hacktivists congratulate Daily Show’s Jon Stewart via Donald Trump’s website

      Canadian hacktivists Telecomix Canada have defaced Donald Trump’s website. The message, entitled “Your Moment of Zen, Mr Stewart” is a shoutout to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show for his steady criticism of Donald Trump.

      The announcement was made by Telecomix Canada on pastebin and says that the reveal of the server penetration is in honour of the last week of Stewart’s tenure helming the Daily Show on Comedy Central.

    • Macs can be remotely infected with firmware malware that remains after reformatting

      When companies claim their products are unhackable or invulnerable, it must be like waving a red flag in front of bulls as it practically dares security researchers to prove otherwise. Apple previously claimed that Macs were not vulnerable to the same firmware flaws that could backdoor PCs, so researchers proved they could remotely infect Macs with a firmware worm that is so tough to detect and to get rid of that they suggested it presents a toss your Mac in the trash situation.

    • More malware turns up on Macs

      As we head into the middle of the week more news will be coming out surrounding the Black Hat hacker conference which takes places on the 5th and 6th this week. A talk that will be given by Trammell Hudson, Xeno Kovah and Cory Kallenberg is set to show a flaw in the firmware of Mac computers which can be remotely targeted.

    • The World’s First Firmware Worm for Mac Is Here, and It Sounds Scary
    • 0-day bug in fully patched OS X comes under active exploit to hijack Macs

      Hackers are exploiting a serious zero-day vulnerability in the latest version of Apple’s OS X so they can perform drive-by attacks that install malware without requiring victims to enter system passwords, researchers said.

    • Hackers are exploiting an OS X flaw to install unwanted adware
    • Apple stock implosion shreds $113.4B

      Apple (AAPL) shares are down significantly for the second day Tuesday — bringing investors’ paper losses to staggering levels and putting the stock further into correction territory.

    • From Car-Jacking To Car-Hacking: How Vehicles Became Targets For Cybercriminals

      The morning after Laura Capehorn parked her Saab 9-3 estate, all she could find of it was a car-shaped hole in the snow.

      The interior designer had left the vehicle outside her mother-in-law’s house in Shepherd’s Bush, London, one evening in January 2014. By the morning it was gone, presumed stolen.

      Police immediately asked to see the car’s key, and weren’t surprised to find out it was an electronic fob. They had seen an increase in tech-savvy criminals using a key-cloning system to gain entry to high-value vehicles. Once in, the thieves drive away within seconds.

    • WordPress 4.2.4 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.2.4 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

    • Six Vulnerabilities Patched With Release of WordPress 4.2.4

      The developers of the WordPress content management system (CMS) today announced the release of version 4.2.4. This security release addresses six vulnerabilities and four bugs.

      According to the release notes, WordPress 4.2.4 patches three cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws and a SQL injection vulnerability that can be exploited to compromise websites. The latest version also protects users against a potential timing side-channel attack, and prevents attackers from locking posts from being edited.

      Marc-Alexandre Montpas of Sucuri, Helen Hou-Sandí of the WordPress security team, Netanel Rubin of Check Point, Ivan Grigorov, Johannes Schmitt of Scrutinizer, and Mohamed A. Baset have been credited for reporting these vulnerabilities.

      WordPress has noted that these fixes are also included in WordPress 4.3 RC2.

      Check Point has published a brief advisory for the SQL injection vulnerability (CVE-2015-2213) patched in the latest version of WordPress. According to the security firm, this is a critical flaw affecting WordPress 4.2.3 and prior.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Britain’s secret ties to governments, firms behind ISIS oil sales

      Key allies in the US and UK led war on Islamic State (ISIS) are covertly financing the terrorist movement according to senior political sources in the region. US and British oil companies are heavily invested in the murky geopolitical triangle sustaining ISIS’ black market oil sales.

      The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and Turkish military intelligence have both supported secret ISIS oil smuggling operations and even supplied arms to the terror group, according to Kurdish, Iraqi and Turkish officials.

      One British oil company in particular, Genel Energy, is contracted by the KRG to supply oil for a major Kurdish firm accused of facilitating ISIS oil sales to Turkey. The Kurdish firm has close ties to the Iraqi Kurdish government.

    • CBS Evening News Reports On Historic Climate Policy Without Mentioning “Climate Change”
  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • US Politicians’ Racist Anti-Iranian Remarks Don’t Make Headlines

      Imagine a US senator publicly calling the Chinese “evil people.” Imagine a governor saying African leaders are “animals.” Imagine a presidential candidate claiming Latinos are “liars.” In each of these cases, the media would rightfully explode, condemning the politicians for their overt racism.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Government Seizes Vehicles Worth $1 Million; Brings No Charges, Keeps The Cars

      It’s not so much the American public losing a few opportunities to buy a luxury vehicle as it is the other thing: tight control of sales. The American public can’t get many laws written in its favor, but large industries certainly can. This initial thrust led to lots and lots of partnerships with local law enforcement agencies conveniently located near shipping docks. And this led to lots and lots of luxury vehicles ending up in the hands of law enforcement.

      Then, the government stopped the crackdown. It claimed to be making an effort to more tightly focus its forfeiture efforts as a result of Eric Holder’s reform initiative. The appearance of being an errand boy for corporate interests certainly didn’t help. Cases were dropped and charges dismissed. But the vehicles remained in the government’s hands.

      One person in Saeki Co.’s position spent two years fighting for the return of a seized vehicle and $125,000 in cash. This followed about a dozen similar settlements, most occuring after a legal battle with the agency(ies) holding the vehicles. In other cases, the prevailing parties still have yet to be fully recompensed. And others are still being prosecuted for violating a law the federal government isn’t entirely clear on and has lost an interest in enforcing.

    • Police Body Cams Should Turn on Automatically, Says Richard Stallman

      Richard Stallman is famous for creating the GNU operating system, and founding the free software movement, which changed how we develop software. Now he’s published an essay in Technology Review about how police body cams should switch on automatically any time an officer pulls out a weapon.

      Stallman’s proposals are somewhat similar to what we’ve seen previously from groups like the ACLU, which crafted a model bill for regulating policy body cams. In that model bill, the ACLU suggests that police should turn body cams on whenever they respond to a call or interact with a member of the public — except when it would be dangerous for the officer to turn the camera on

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Microsoft Admits Vista 10 Not a ‘Free’ ‘Upgrade’, Especially If You Upgrade

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 4:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft debunks its own false promises, showing that Vista 10 as ‘free’ is virtually a mirage

With Vista 10, Microsoft still makes it hard to install GNU/Linux (without Windows then wiping or breaking it). But to make matters worse, watch how Microsoft now treats people who ‘upgrade’ their computer to Vista 10:

Microsoft answers

Microsoft answers

Microsoft answers

Microsoft answers

Microsoft answers

Vista 10 is not free. It’s not free for anyone. Get over it.

Free Software is Commercial

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Security at 4:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO at the time

Summary: Corporate media helps stigmatise Free/Open Source software as unsuitable for commercial use and once again it uses the ‘security’ card

SEVERAL days ago in our daily links we includes two articles that used the term “commercial software” (to mean proprietary software). Both cited Synopsys. It is amazing that even in 2015 there are some capable of making this error, maybe intentionally. Commercial software just means software that is used commercially. A lot of it is Free/Open Source software (the corporate media prefers the term “Open Source” to avoid discussion about the F word, “freedom”).

“Commercial software just means software that is used commercially.”Yesterday we found yet another headline which repeats the same formula (as if they all received the same memo), calling proprietary software “commercial software”, thereby reinforcing the false dichotomy and the stigma of Free software. “Looking at our Java defect density data through the lens of OWASP Top 10,” says Synopsys, “we observe that commercial software is significantly more secure than open source software.”

Another article from yesterday reminded us that Free software takes security very seriously and top/leading Free software projects are widely regarded (even by Coverity) as more secure than proprietary counterparts. Oddly enough, Synopsys links to a “Coverity Scan Open Source Report 2014″, not 2015, and the report is behind walled gardens, so it is hard to check if these headlines tell the whole story or just part of it. The analysis itself is done by proprietary software, whose methods are basically a secret. Go figure…

We recently saw some very gross distortions where security issues in proprietary software got framed as a Free software issues. As we have repeatedly demonstrated and stressed over the past years and a half, there seems to be a campaign of FUD, ‘branding’, and logos (the latest being targeted at Android/MMS) whose goal is to create or cement a damaging stereotype while always ignoring back doors and even front doors in proprietary software (now out in the open because of the British Prime Minister and the ringleader of the FBI).

‘Sanader’s Protégé’ Željko Topić Slammed by Press in His Home Country

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ivo Sanader
Ivo Sanader, “convicted felon who served as Prime Minister of Croatia,” based on Wikipedia
Photo licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Summary: The mischiefs of Benoît Battistelli and Željko Topić still not forgotten while temporary calm prevails at the EPO

Sanader is in prison, but Topić is not. Actually, Topić now receives an astronomically-high salary from European taxpayers. He escaped his country where he faces many criminal charges to reach a high office in a cosmopolitan area, just like other minions whom he is professionally close to or tightly connected to [1, 2, 3, 4].

The EPO remains somewhat of a laughing stock not just because of Topić but also his boss, Battistelli, who flagrantly and shamelessly ignores the law, insisting that he is exempt from the rules accompanying basic European laws. It’s utter disregard for every member state, not just the Dutch. Since a lot of EPO staff are currently on holiday, we may not be hearing so much about the EPO these days, but nothing has changed for the better.

Today we present two English translations of articles that were published in the Croatian press on the 30th of June. “The content of both articles is much the same,” told us a source who offered translations, “and they both refer to the Council of Europe declaration launched by Pierre Yves Le Borgn’.” We covered this a month ago.

Here is the first translation. The original article is at tjedno.hr.

EUROPEAN COUNCIL LAUNCHES DECLARATION CONCERNING THE EPO

June 30, 2015

On the initiative of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French representative to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, two SDP Members of the Croatian Parliament, Melita Mulić and Gvozden Flego, took part in the launch of a declaration dealing with the recent scandalous events at the European Patent Office (EPO). Apart from them, the text of the declaration was signed by 82 other parliamentarians, including four out of five of the leaders of the main political groupings in the Assembly. One of the signatories of the declaration is Mr. Josip Juratovic, a Member of the German Parliament [born in Croatia].

We remind our readers that on 17th February 2015, the Court of Appeal in The Hague ruled against the European Patent Office (EPO), claiming that its internal dispute resolution system led to the violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter. The Court also stated that the EPO cannot invoke its immunity in such a manner that an international organization becomes a place with fewer rights, protected by its so-called immunity from jurisdiction.

The persons who are at the centre of this political and economic scandal which has been one of the main subjects of attention of the European media in recent months, are the President of the EPO, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand man, Mr. Željko Topić, the former director of the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia.

The aforementioned declaration invites all 38 member states of the EPO which are also members of the Council of Europe to act to resolve this legal deadlock, and it also invites the EPO management to comply with the decision of the Hague Court of Appeal.

Another article can be found at dnevno.hr. The headline is “Sanaderov kadar u središtu europskog skandala!” which translates to “Sanader’s protégé at the centre of a European scandal!”

COUNCIL OF EUROPE REQUESTS THE ADOPTION OF A DECLARATION ON THE EPO

Sanader’s protégé at the centre of a European scandal!

Author: D. Boroš
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The actors at the centre of the political, economic, and media scandal which is among the main topics of newspapers throughout Europe in recent months, are the President of the EPO, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand man, Mr. Željko Topić, the former director of the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia.

Members of the Croatian Parliament form the SDP, Melita Mulić and Gvozden Flego, on the initiative of Pierre-Yves Le Borgne, the French representative to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, participated in the launch of a declaration concerning the recent scandalous events at the European Patent Office (EPO).

In addition to them, the text of the declaration was signed by 82 other parliamentarians, including four out of five leaders of the main political groups of the Assembly. One of the signatories of the declaration is Mr. Josip Juratovic, a [Croatian-born] member of the German Parliament.

We remind our readers that on 17th February 2015 the Court of Appeal in The Hague pronounced judgment against the EPO, claiming that its internal dispute resolution system led to the violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter.

The Court also stated that the EPO cannot invoke its immunity in such a manner that an international organization becomes a place with fewer rights, protected by its so- called immunity from execution.

Connected to this, the actors who found themselves in the middle of this political and economic, and also media scandal which is one of the main stories in newspapers throughout Europe in recent months, are the President of the EPO, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand man, Mr. Željko Topić, the former director of the Croatian SIPO.

The aforementioned declaration invites all 38 member states of the EPO which are also members of the Council of Europe, to bring this legal impasse to an end, and it invites the EPO management to comply with the judgment of the Hague Court of Appeal.

A lot of action is likely to resume at the end of this summer. No issue, no scandal, and no instance of corruption has been addressed yet. Nobody at the very top has resigned (or got fired) for quite some time although it’s well overdue. A lot of European politicians are now involved. Even Croatian politicians are upset at the EPO.

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